The purge: starting at the beginning

Face it: minimalism in a family with kids is about as far away from possible as Fiji is from Canada.

Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt it.


I amuse myself.

Ha ha ha.

But all kidding aside, I think most of us quite readily admit there is simply too much stuff around us. And at no other time do I think this is as evident as the time when school lets out just prior to summer vacation. (Christmas might have been worse at one time, but since my kids grew out of traditional toys it’s been more manageable.)

Winter wasn’t that long ago, and spring (i.e. warm weather, sunshine) wasn’t particularly enlightening this year. Plus it came very late. Winter clothes are still hanging about in closets, and now that the kids are home from school with oodles of papers and supplies need sorting and/or trashing, it gets a little overwhelming.

Winter sports gear needs washing and putting away.

Closets and dressers need purging. Not just the kids’ closets either…

I don’t need fleece jackets taking up space here, I tell myself, looking at the collection of them mocking me from the hall closet.

We literally went from ice cold, miserable, damaging storms to turning on the a/c to prevent heat exhaustion a week or two later. Which explains why my closets contain four seasons worth of clothing and footwear.

I was typing this post indoors with the fan going, since outside felt like the hot air exhaust of a tour bus.

“Don’t open the door!” I yelled at my kids. They did anyway and came right back inside. “Too hot”, they said and picked up an electronic device.

I too decided to remain indoors. There’s nothing crucial to do at the moment since school is over, sports are slowed down to a trickle, and even the husband is on vacation.

This was as good a time as any to tackle his side of the closet. And his dresser.

So I started. Ahem.

I have to say that purging is not an activity I particularly enjoy. While I purge I struggle with decisions on what to do with items that technically don’t belong to me, yet I know for a fact that said item hasn’t been worn or used or even looked at in years. It’s possible the items’ existence aren’t even registering on their brains.

But I still struggle.

He’s hanging on to this because of some emotional connection to someone, is one thought percolating through my brain.

The kids used to love this toy, is another. Maybe it’ll evoke some happy memories if I keep it a little longer.

But it doesn’t work that way. What inevitably ends up happening is I trip over it time and again, or have to move it in order to get at something else, then move it again, then find a new location for it, you know how it is: lather, rinse, repeat.


It also doesn’t help that I don’t live in a mansion. With mansion-like closet space.

Most people don’t.

By evening, his closet and dresser were strikingly empty, sorted, and in order. A pile of winter stuff, on hangers with labeled recycling bags placed over top like a garment bag, was piled out in the hall to be moved up into the attic. No need for long johns and winter coats at the moment, I thought smugly and walked away from the pile.

Tomorrow I’ll add to it from my side of the closet, I reminded myself.

In fact, the next day I continued with my side of the closet as well as my dresser, which took a lot less time than my husband’s stuff. (So I blogged this post with all the extra time I had, natch. πŸ˜‰)

I do like to keep order throughout the year… πŸ˜‰

And so it began, my purge to clear this place of junk, worn-out stuff, and clothing that doesn’t fit anymore or is for another season.

Naturally I also found stuff stashed everywhere that kept my motivation going to rid us of excess. Like Halloween candy….(shhh, don’t tell the kids.) Items I deemed no longer necessary, joyful or practical were removed from the premises or placed in the donation bag. The trick however is to get rid of it immediately, otherwise the family will locate it, bring it back in and refuse to part with it all while making a lot of noise and drama. πŸ˜‰

Tell me, do you do regular mini purges or are you more inclined to react emotionally to a particular incident that then motivates you to clean up? Where do you start? How do you keep going?

16 thoughts on “The purge: starting at the beginning

  1. β€œThe trick however is to get rid of it immediately, otherwise the family will locate it, bring it back in and refuse to part with it all while making a lot of noise and drama.”
    Haaaaaaaaaa. Yeah. This is me. I feel so productive just bagging it up, it often just sits somewhere bagged until my kids find it and admonish me for trying to get rid of their four-sizes-too-small β€œFAVOURITE SHIRT!” and shitty plastic crap from last year’s Easter baskets. πŸ™„

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I am a serial purger !! I just love doing it. I do have keepsake boxes but I literally know where everything is. Actually did the kitchen today 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I try to get rid of ten things a week. I pick an area of the house (it can be as small as a drawer) and I just take everything out, determine its usability and then decide to toss or keep. I’m ruthless!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have exactly the same problem. The hallway into our house is flanked by a shoe mountain on the floor, and a coat mountain hanging from hooks on the wall – all because of the same thing you just described – seasons that are kind of broken.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is great about your closets and dressers. I love doing that.
    This post reminds me of when my son was younger and pre-laptop. He loves to write stories and used to have piles of paper all over the house which drove me nuts. But how could I stifle all that creativity? πŸ˜‰ All I can say is thank goodness for the laptop now! Word documents do not clutter up my house!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, girl, I feel you. I’m a binge/purge kind of girl myself. Sunshine will have hunting crap taking over my living room (or something equally traumatic will happen), and I will go on a rampage. The entire house will get organized, and it starts with me taking one category of stuff, like craft supplies or clothes, and dumping it all out in the middle of the living room. That gives me space to make my “keep sell toss” piles and get stuff to keep sorted properly.

    I’ll continue like that throughout the entire house. No matter what category it is, it’s going in the middle of the living room or on the bed. That way, I have no choice but finish the task if I want my house to function as a house.

    I try and do this when Sunshine isn’t home so he can’t see what goes flying out the door. If he doesn’t see it leave, he generally doesn’t even notice it’s gone; but if he sees it leaving, it immediately becomes the one thing that he must keep or the universe will collapse upon itself in a reverse big bang, ending all life as we know it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep. Sigh.
      My thinking is: if you don’t know where it is, then you won’t find it when you need it, so why the eff do we keep it? Lordy.

      I’m familiar with rampage, too. πŸ˜πŸ™„


  7. I love to purge. If I could, I would purge more but my husband is keeping an eye on his records and books! I love minimal. Did your family when you were growing up do spring purges and then one again before the fall? I remember this as try on clothes, get rid of clothing that doesn’t fit. It is healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

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